ABC's adventurous plan to launch multiple new shows on Wednesday night started strong on its premiere night.
Two of ABC's highly touted comedies -- "Modern Family" at 9 p.m. and "Cougar Town" at 9:30 p.m. -- each scored a big Nielsen preliminary 4.3 rating/12 share among 18-49 viewers. Those shows were the highest-rated shows in that demo for the night.
ABC's new 10 p.m. drama, "Eastwick," did okay -- but was not stellar, at a 3.0/8. It came in second place to the season premiere of CBS' "CSI: NY." Overall, ABC was up about 20% in adults 18-49 against its premiere on Wednesday a year ago.
ABC and CBS, in preliminary results, tied for the evening with a 3.5/10, with ABC doing a bit better among the younger viewers 18-34 with a 2.6/8 to CBS' 2.5/8.
In the first battle of the dance shows, ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" came out on top among 18-49 viewers with a 3.2/10. Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance?" earned a 2.5/8.
"Dance" was up a bit from a week ago, but down from the 3.0-plus average it was pulling in its usual summer run. "Stars" currently is running a bit lower than its first week a year ago.
In the tough 9 p.m. time period, ABC's "Modern Family" came out on top with a 4.3/12. Right behind was CBS' "Criminal Minds" at 4.2/11, down 11% from a year ago. Fox's "Glee" held steady with a 3.0/8, down just one-tenth of a rating point from its premiere a week ago.
Fox landed in third place overall with a 2.8/8, but it was the easy winner among the 18-34 crowd, from strong younger-viewing shows "Dance" and "Glee."
Against a competitive night overall, NBC had trouble gaining traction, with its new "Mercy" earning a modest 2.3/7 at 8 p.m. Perhaps a bigger surprise was that its venerable drama "Law & Order: SVU" was at a 2.5/7 for its first episode of the season. That was down 34% from its 10 p.m. time period on the night a year ago. "Jay Leno" moved down a bit from Wednesday to a 2.0/5.
CW's "America's Next Top Model" was at a 1.3 rating among 18-49 viewers and a 2.3 rating among women 18-34. Both numbers were about the same versus a week ago.
But things weren't pretty for "The Beautiful Life: TBL" at 9 p.m. It sunk to a microscopic 0.5 rating/1 share among 18-49 viewers, a 0.6 among the 18-34 demo, and a 0.9 for women 18-34.